What are these Vuvuzela horns?
Vuvuzelas are plastic horns which the South African sports fans blow constantly, in and out of the stadium. They all have about the same tone, and together they make a drone which sounds like thousands of bees buzzing. They are made out of cheap plastic, and are easily affordable.
What problems do they cause for the players?
Soccer, or football, is a game of teamwork. Players need to be able to communicate with each other during the game. Players call for the ball, warn each other of opposing players approaching from behind, or call out when they want to switch positions, or change tactics. Goal keepers call for the ball when they will get it so defensive players let it go. With that loud perpetual buzz, some players can’t even hear the whistle the referee blows for a foul or off sides call. Besides the noise at the games, some players have complained of having their sleep interrupted by the constant din of the horns day and night.
What are we missing while all this buzzing and blasting fills our ears?
One of the entertaining things about international games is the chance to hear the multi ethnic music, chants, and cheers from all over the world. Fans bring their national instruments and sing the songs and chants from their country. The African fans used to entertain us with their rhythmic drums. Those from the Middle East had drums with a different tone and rhythm. The Mexican fans would enthusiastically shout ole. The Brits love to sing, and each team in England has their own songs, some with words made up especially for the specific team or special players. I can always tell who is playing without looking, simply by listening to the songs they sing. When things are going well for the national team, you’ll hear “Rule Britannia,” or the national anthem, “God Save the Queen.”
The fans from the USA include the traveling group called Sam’s Army, who show up at games all over the world with their big drums. The stands at previous US games have been filled with fans in red, white and blue chanting, “USA, USA!” This enthusiasm makes a difference to the team. I went with a crowd to a qualifying game in Trinidad, and when we started to cheer as they came onto the field, the players looked up to check out their unexpected crowd of enthusiastic supporters. I like to think we gave them a little boost of confidence.
Horns or music?
The Vuvuzelas are now being sold all over the world, and taken back as souvenirs. Ear plugs are also being sold, as the deafening roar is damaging to the hearing of the fans. Several studies have been done to determine the decibel levels they produce, and doctors are warning of the danger to hearing.
I doubt that it is practical to ban the Vuvuzelas, but I hope it does not bring an end to the songs, cheers, drums and bands that have been so much a part of the fun of soccer over the years. I can only hope that at some of the games, the national fans will figure out how to shout their chants loudly enough, or belt out their songs with such force that we can hear them and know there are there.
Source: Personal experience watching so many games in person and on television. UK Daily Mail.